How Dads Can Boost Their Child’s IQ
Parents want what’s best for their children. It’s a basic instinct that seems to take over when you see your child for the first time.
When it comes to raising a child, it’s traditionally been the mother who takes on a lion’s share of the responsibility. However, there’s a cultural shift with respect to child rearing duties. Dads are beginning to step in.
Most agree that this is a good thing and it takes more than just a fatherly presence in the house. He needs to provide a child with guidance, direction, and love. And let’s not forget good behavior.
Science is finding out that there’s more to the story. Having a father who is a part of their child’s upbringing has a stronger impact than you might first believe.
When a father gets involved in a child’s life, he’s doing more than just pulling his weight around the house. He’s also giving a boost to his child’s brainpower.
That’s the finding from an extensive study – published in the journal Evolution and Human Behaviour – that was done by Daniel Nettle.
Daniel was curious how a father’s parenting involvement would affect a child’s skills and abilities. So he examined more than 11,000 British men and women and looked at the specific parenting behaviors of the father.
When he looked at fathers who were actively involved – through general quality time, reading to them, and organized outings – he noticed a trend. Dads who were a part of their kids’ lives had higher IQs.
A Mobile World
Daniel’s analysis didn’t stop there. He went a step further and followed up with these kids once they were older. Approximately 30 years later when they were midlife at the age of 42.
The surprising thing was that Daniel could still see a visible effect of having an involved father with these, now, adults. They had better jobs and more promising careers than their counterparts whose fathers were more distant growing up. Daniel comments:
What was surprising about this research was the real sizeable difference in the progress of children who benefited from paternal interest and how thirty years later, people whose dads were involved are more upwardly mobile.
Spending Time With Daughters
Another thing Daniel noted in his research was that fathers usually spent more time with their sons than their daughters.
We can hardly fault a dad for doting on their son. Men are concerned about their their legacy and family name being carried on. However, fathers should remember that their time with daughters is just important. Daniel’s research demonstrates the effects of involvement are just as powerful for daughters as it is for sons.
It could be that we’ve been under-estimating how much the father can have an impact as a parent. Yes, dads can boost their child’s IQ, but there’s more. Other research shows they can play a significant role in behavior, academic performance, and more.
In 2006, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services put out a report about the importance of fatherhood. Here’s what they write:
Children with involved, caring fathers have better educational outcomes. A number of studies suggest that fathers who are involved, nurturing, and playful with their infants have children with higher IQs, as well as better linguistic and cognitive capacities.
This isn’t to say that mom’s don’t have an incredible impact on a child’s development. Obviously they do. It’s just that men haven’t quite been getting their due when it comes to their importance in a child’s growth.
The message is pretty clear for dads around the world. If you want your kids to have the brightest future possible, spend time with them. They’ll not only get an IQ boost, but their future professional and personal opportunities will benefit as well.